▶ Watch Video: Inside U.S. air base housing thousands of Afghanistan evacuees
The U.S. military is scrambling to process roughly 8,000 Afghan citizens at a U.S. air base in Germany. For the Afghans, it’s the first stop on their way to a new life, far from home.
At Ramstein Air Base, U.S. service members are doing their best to feed, care for and entertain thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan.
“Their entire life possessions might be a in plastic shopping bag. It certainly helps put things in perspective,” Lieutenant Colonel Simon Ritchie said.
“This is just a way station for the Afghan evacuees,” he said. “They’ll stay here a few days before flying elsewhere — very likely the U.S. — to start a new life.”
Rahmat Safari worked as an interpreter for U.S. special forces. He said that if he hadn’t gotten out of the country, the Taliban were “gonna kill me right away.”
He said his family owe their lives to a former green beret who became a friend.
“His name is Greg Adams,” Safari said. “He’s back in the United States. He helped us a lot.”
Major Greg Adams is now a civilian. From his home in Seattle, he remotely guided Safari and other Afghan interpreters through the chaos at Kabul’s airport using text messages. He said Safari and other translators kept him alive while he was in Afghanistan.
“That’s what we know, and that’s why we’re working so hard right now to take care of them,” Adams said.
Adams risked his life to fight the Taliban, and says America now has a moral obligation to the Afghans who helped.
“I don’t necessarily question the decision to leave,” he said. “I think we could have done a lot better job of planning for this and getting people out.”
More than 800 Afghans have already departed Germany for the U.S. Safari told CBS News his ambition now is to find work and have a peaceful life — he hopes in Sacramento.